Regional New South Wales is set to become an Australian leader in all-electric flying cars, with the state government awarding almost $1 million to establish a flying electric vehicle testing facility in the state’s central-west.
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but Australian start-up AMSL Aero wants to develop an all-electric point-to-point transport option, that could see people ditch planes when travelling between regional towns.
The plan was unveiled on Wednesday by NSW deputy premier John Barilaro, who said that he hoped flying electric vehicles could one day link regional communities with major cities.
“The potential benefits this technology can deliver will overcome the tyranny of distance that we face in regional NSW, meaning people can easily travel to jobs, visit friends and family in remote locations and deliver tourists to hard to reach outback havens,” Barilaro said.
“Imagine the convenience of having a flying car land in your suburb when you need to travel to a regional destination that is not serviced by an airport.”
The NSW government will provide a $950,000 grant, through its, Regional Investment Attraction Fund, to help establish the testing facility, that will host aerospace company AMSL Aero, which will test its electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicles at the Narromine Aerodrome Industrial Park.
AMSL Aero co-founder and CEO Andrew Moore said that grant would help support the company launch its first vehicle, and scale up its operations in regional New South Wales.
“We are excited by the opportunity to use this grant to help us prepare for our upcoming launch and build essential testing facilities,” Moore said.
AMSL has currently developed scaled-versions of its all-electric flying vehicles but hopes to expand its vehicles to allow for human flights following successful testing. The all-electric vehicle will be able to take off and land without the need for a lengthy runway and could make it ideal for travel between locations without a dedicated airport.
“It sounds like science fiction but the reality is a future where this is possible, practical and affordable is not that far away and I am proud that our investment attraction grant will help the development of this new technology and support jobs in regional NSW,” Barilaro added.
The company is set to become an anchor tenant at the Aerodrome Industrial Park in Narromine, with the facility set to commence construction before the end of 2020, after it also received a $750,000 grant from the NSW government.
“The AMSL initiative complements the aim of the Aviation Industrial Park and leads a field of local and international aviation related companies showing interest in the development. With favourable year round flying conditions, it is ideally located,“ Narromine Shire Council mayor Craig Davies said.
Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.